Old school sponge, icing and hundreds and thousands

A simple, yet delicious recipe that I ‘borrowed’ from my book and cake partner in crime, Claire at Art & Soul.Β  Yes, it’s a very easy recipe but the small problem I had was getting the consistency of the water icing just right. I’ve now made this recipe twice; the first time I had insufficient icing and the second it was too runny.Β  Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to get right!

I took some cake into work and some of my older colleagues remarked that it reminded them of school dinners…in the best possible way of course πŸ™‚

What you need:

For the sponge cakeIMG_0096
200g butter
200g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the water icing (courtesy of BBC food)
300g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp water
2-3 drops food colouring if desired

What you do:

  • Grease and line a baking tray, ideally rectangular
  • Preheat your oven to 170Β°cΒ  (Claire went for 160, I needed 170)
  • Using a freestanding mixer, beat all the ingredients together into a smooth mixture; my estimate was 2-3 minutes
  • Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 25 – 35 minutes until golden brown
  • Allow to cool in the tin

vanilla sponge

  • Make the icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, stir in the water gradually to create a smooth mixture.
  • Pour over the cake and sprinkle over your hundreds and thousands or whatever decoration you have chosen.Β  When the icing has set, you can remove from the tray and slice.

vanilla sponge

I had to do this quite quickly as the first time I made it, the icing started to set really quickly and the sprinkles just rolled to the side of the cake!

vanilla sponge

Until next time…Happy Baking!


  1. 15th May 2016 / 11:58 am

    Ooo! Lovely sponge πŸ™‚ I’m glad it turned out so well for you. Getting the icing right can be tricky. I add a drop of water at a time now until it’s how I need it. And even then it’s not always right!

    • 15th May 2016 / 12:04 pm

      I made it again yesterday for a family tea and got the icing spot on this time. Third time lucky πŸ™‚

    • Beth Asefaw
      22nd March 2019 / 3:13 pm

      When mixing the ingredients together it came out really thick and almost like a dough consistency…. is this normal?

      • Lindsay | Bookboodle
        22nd March 2019 / 5:06 pm

        Hi Beth, yes this is normal. The consistency is quite different from a normal cake mixture i.e a Victoria sponge. Hope it turns out well!

  2. 15th May 2016 / 3:16 pm

    That looks delicious! Now I have to go try to make it!

  3. 15th May 2016 / 6:29 pm

    We never had anything that good for school dinners! It looks great.

  4. 16th May 2016 / 9:06 pm

    Looks good – I made similar for my daughter’s birthday at the weekend, a Victoria sponge with strawberry jam filling and butter icing and sprinkles for the top! I have to admit it was a tad on the dry side but still delicious!

  5. 1st November 2016 / 8:23 am

    Love your very clear images of your bakes! Great! Most cookery books could take a tip from you 😊

  6. 1st November 2016 / 8:40 am

    I know someone who would adore the lemon curd layered sponge!

  7. 27th April 2018 / 6:18 pm

    My family & friends love this came & such an easy recipe thank you x

  8. Lindsay | Bookboodle
    28th April 2018 / 11:28 am

    That’s great, so glad you liked it! πŸ™‚

  9. Kim
    24th May 2018 / 11:59 am

    How long will this cake last for? Thanks x

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      24th May 2018 / 10:09 pm

      Couple of days in a tin…if it doesn’t get eaten before then πŸ˜‰

  10. Wendy stone
    24th May 2018 / 10:24 pm

    What size tin please

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      25th May 2018 / 8:00 pm

      I used a square one which was 8.5″ x 8.5″. Enjoy πŸ™‚

  11. Kellie Crofts
    12th March 2019 / 4:36 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Spot on sponge, beautiful and moist…in fact will use this sponge recipe from now on for my other traybakes…icing you just have to persevere with and get to the right consistency to suit you….10/10

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      12th March 2019 / 8:39 pm

      That’s great! I’m glad it turned out well for you πŸ™‚

  12. Beth Asefaw
    22nd March 2019 / 3:14 pm

    My mixture came out with a very thick consistency is this normal?

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      2nd October 2019 / 7:26 pm

      Yes! It’s totally different to that of a Victoria sponge πŸ™‚

  13. Mumena
    26th May 2019 / 11:50 pm

    Is there steps to mixing all the ingredients? Or can the mixture go in anyhow

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      27th May 2019 / 7:52 am

      Anyhow will do πŸ™‚

  14. Angela
    17th June 2019 / 7:00 pm

    Would it be worth using warm water in the icing to stop it setting quickly?

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      12th July 2019 / 3:21 pm

      Possibly. It may be worth a try πŸ™‚

  15. Chelsea
    25th September 2019 / 7:47 pm

    Once made would you recommend refrigerated or covered up room temp over night

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      29th September 2019 / 7:42 pm

      I keep mine in a cake box/tin with a lid πŸ™‚

  16. Rebecca Irvine
    28th November 2019 / 1:41 pm

    I made this sponge and it turned out beautifully well, gorgeous sponge but I found it didn’t raise a huge amount. Would there be a reason for that?

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      28th November 2019 / 9:35 pm

      Brilliant news! I honestly don’t know re the rise, it’s heavier than a Victoria sponge and doesn’t have the extra baking powder (like a Victoria does) maybe that’s it 😊

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